The Grinch might have come down the chimney to steal Christmas, but real-life Grinches could be lying in wait at a bank or shopping center to steal your cash or gifts. The Victoria Police Department’s Community Engagement Unit offers these tips to help you prevent thieving Grinches from stealing your Christmas cheer:
Holiday shoppers should be wary of “jugging,” a crime in which a thief spots a victim carrying valuables, then follows the victim to their next destination to steal the goods. We’ve heard reports from Houston of “juggers” following people who were leaving banks and stores.
If you’re visiting a bank to withdraw funds, make sure your cash is sealed away out of sight before you leave the bank.
If you suspect you are being followed, call us at 361-573-3221, or call 911.
When you arrive at your shopping destination, park in a well-lit area that’s close to other vehicles. Most vehicle burglaries in Victoria happen in unlocked cars, so lock up to protect your belongings. Make sure to store your new purchases and other valuables out of sight.
Always take your keys with you. You might think you’ll “only be gone a minute,” but that’s all the time it takes for a thief to steal your vehicle.
Avoid carrying a purse or large amounts of cash.
If packages will be delivered to your home, provide delivery instructions to avoid having your package left out in the open. Take advantage of tracking services to determine when your package will arrive. If possible, arrange for packages to be delivered to your workplace. You may also consider investing in a doorbell security camera.
You should also call us if you see something suspicious, such as a person roaming a parking lot, testing door handles and peering into vehicles. Never try to confront a burglar.
The Community Engagement Unit hosts events throughout the year so that we can meet the people we serve and build relationships with our community. Here are some of our upcoming events and ongoing initiatives:
- Blue Santa/Toys for Tots: We partner with Toys for Tots to make sure every child can have a gift at Christmas. You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy through Dec. 18 at the police department or at any drop-off location. For more information about the program, visit www.toysfortots.org or follow Toys for Tots – Victoria County on Facebook.
- Civilian Police Academy: This program is for adults who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday work of protecting our community. The next academy will start in February. Application forms are available at the main police department building, at our Victoria Mall office or online at www.victoriatx.gov/police.
- Lunch and Learn: We will not have a Lunch and Learn in December. The next one will be 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Victoria Community Center. VCS Companies will give lessons on smartphone use for beginners.
- Security surveys: We can evaluate your home or business to determine whether you are adequately protected from crime. Get in touch with us to request a survey.
For more information about these programs, contact the Community Engagement Unit at 361-485-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officer John Turner is a member of the Victoria Police Department’s Community Engagement Unit.